COVID-19 Immigration Update: Certain Visitors in Canada are Eligible to Apply for Work Permit from Inside Canada

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) announced that it will temporarily allow Visitors to apply for work permits from inside Canada. In order to be eligible under this temporary public policy, foreign nationals in Canada must meet the following criteria:

  • Have valid status in Canada as a visitor as of August 24, 2020;
  • Have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer supported by either a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment;
  • Submit their application for a work permit before March 31, 2021; and
  • Meet all other criteria required for a work permit.

We note that any foreign national who arrives in Canada as a Visitor after August 24, 2020, will not qualify under this public policy.

If the foreign national meets the above criteria and held a valid work permit in the past 12 months, they may be eligible to work while their work permit application is in process. Please see our July 17, 2020 In A Flash titled COVID-19 Immigration Update: Public Policy Change for Certain Out-of-Status Foreign Nationals which explains the interim work authorization in detail.

This change will benefit Canadian employers. Until now, pursuant to Canadian Immigration legislation, most Visitors in Canada would need to apply online through IRCC’s New York office. Once approved, they would need to attend a local land border crossing for their work permit to be printed. In-person attendance at the border is not currently allowed in most instances, meaning Visitors and their prospective employers in Canada have been an impasse during the pandemic, until now.

We will continue to update our clients with information as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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